It's fitting that while Mad Men was presented with its third consecutive Emmy win for Best Drama Series on Sunday, in "Waldorf Stories," airing at the same time, Don Draper took home a Clio for best ad. Somehow, Mad Men's acceptance of its award was more graceful than Don could hope to be. More on that in a minute.
This episode featured many intricate plots. First, the flashbacks: Don, a fur salesman, approaches Roger about contributing to the firm. He invites him out for a drink (Roger's "At 10 o'clock in the morning?" response is both ironic and pathetic). Clearly these two are a match made in heaven, in spite of themselves.
Back in the present, Peggy is forced to endure a straight (as opposed to Sal) art director, Stan, who reads Playboy under the pretenses of "work." In a marathon work session in a hotel room, Peggy, fed up with Stan's insulting and insecure comments, throws off her clothes in a bit of that I didn't know you had that in you, Peggy! confidence. Stan, clearly aroused and defeated, throws in the towel and calls her a "bitch" before deserting.
Pete, meanwhile, must battle his own demons when Ken's company merges with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The scene between the former co-workers, as Pete smarmily welcomes Ken aboard, promises a juicy conflict in the season's closing episodes.
After the Clios, Don is faced with the Life Cereal campaign, inadvertently and desperately regurgitating a "been there, done that" slogan from Danny. Looks like Don's got a new (short) protege to worry about. At this point, Peggy is practically broken in at age 25.
And Don - well, let's just say he's reached a low point. After making pass at Faye (who, predictably, shoots him down), he leaves the awards show with a talented brunette, only to be woken up Sunday morning by his ex, Betty, wondering where the hell he is to pick up the kids. "That's not until Sunday," Don responds, annoyed out of his mind. "It is Sunday," she snarls, and when the camera pulls back, we see a different woman, a blonde, in Don's bed, clearly the result of a blackout of epic drinking.
Cue the final flashback between Don and Roger, in which Don stalks Roger to the Sterling Cooper elevator, convincing Roger he hired Don in a fit of drunkenness. Roger doesn't look particularly surprised.
And, we come full circle: Don gets so drunk he doesn't remember who he's sleeping with. Is he the new Roger, who didn't remember hiring (or not hiring) a newbie?
-How sad to see Duck drunk out of his mind at the opening of the Clios. But, really, is he that different from Don or Roger?
-What do you think Ken's role will be in the season's final episodes? Will he serve as a chief adversary to Pete?
-How much more can Betty fret and fester? How will her story fit in with Don's life? How many more seasons does she have left in her?
-I missed Sally this go-round. Is she becoming an underdog fascinating character?
Waldorf Stories: A